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DBear
06/17/07 10:00 PM  
High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
Howdy,

I'm wondering if my standard sparge temp (170F)is too high and extracts tannins when i use a high percentage of pils (>75). I've experienced astringent like off flavors with all my belgians using high percents of pils. I just did a 50-50 wit with pils and wheat and it tasted great with no off flavors.

For my mashes I usually heat water 12-14F above to get my strike temp - strike temp 150F, water temp 162f. For sparging i go with 170F strike temp heating my water to 185F to endup with the 170F grain bed. Does high percent belgian pils require lower sparge temps?

Cheers

Baums
06/18/07 09:43 AM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
DBear, did you make any other changes to your process this time (chlorine treatment, oxygen avoidance, whatever?)

Also, did you actually measure that your sparge was at 170 (and were you fly or batch sparging)?

Anyway congratulations on avoiding that problem flavor this time.

Cisco
06/18/07 11:04 AM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
If you do a mash out to get the grain bed to 168 or 170 then you don't need to keep your sparge water so high. You could actually have your sparge water at 168 to 170. I think that 185 is way too high and that even though your grain bed is measuring 170 that the you're extracting some tannins just from the initial high heat contact of the sparge water.

Most of my beers are primarily made up of pilsner malt.

DBear
06/18/07 01:52 PM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
Cisco,

What is the infustion temp of your mashout water. some infussion calculators use a default infusion temp of 212F. So if I do a 148F sacc rest for 60min, I may need to infuse with a gallon of boiling water to get to 168F for mash out, won't that extract tannins?

Thanks

Cisco
06/18/07 02:25 PM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
I run a Heat Exchange Recirculation System so I just keep my liquor tank at 170. You now see the limitations of straight infusions causing tannin extraction if your mashtun does not have a lot of room for additional water. Just pour slowly while stirring constantly and should be OK.
Sean White
06/18/07 05:00 PM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
From my experience with astringency in beers, I think it's usually from mash pH, not amount of pilsner malt. A 170 sparge should be fine.

At least in my case, in my very light beers with a base of pils malt and little or no color malts, I noticed some astringent graininess. This is usually due to a too-high mash pH, not being dropped by the addition of color malts. I corrected this my acidifying the mash with lactic acid in my low gravity, light beers. I also add a little lactic acid to my sparge water. The amount I add for a 5 gallon batch is about .5 ml for the mash and .25 ml for the sparge water.

I don't know if this applies to your beers but I hope it helps.

Cisco
06/18/07 05:17 PM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
It's true that mash PH could contribute to this problem. I use the 5.2 PH Stabilizer powder in my mash tun and I use lactic acid for my sparge water. This means that you're going to have to buy a new piece of brewing equipment (oh boy new toys!!) - a PH meter.
Sean White
06/18/07 06:45 PM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
" This means that you're going to have to buy a new piece of brewing equipment (oh boy new toys!!) - a PH meter."

Not necessarily. I 've heard Jamil say the'tre a big pain in the butt and the trodes eventually wear out. ANd you have to recalibrate them.

ColorpHast strips are about $20 for a pack (even that makes a cheapskate like myself cringe, but hey, it's all for the beer!). They are higly recommended, but I use the even cheaper, and almost worthless little pH strips that cost $2 for about a hunderd. It gets me close enough though.

DBear
06/19/07 09:59 AM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
Thanks for all your responses.

Baums - I didn't do any water changes but my sparge temp was around 175F for the wit so it might have helped, also I used some acid malt that might have contributed to lower pH. I just did a saison with 1:1 distilled to tap (for style purposes) and added part of a campden (sp?) tab. We'll see what happens.

Cisco & Sean - For my saison batch (last night) I kept my sparge at 170F. I didn't manipulate the pH but had some munich in the batch and when I checked pH, it was below 6 (pH strips only went to 6) I did buy 5.2 but for last night 6 was close enough for me. (I have a list of toys already but SWMBO is ever vigilant!)

This is my third AG batch and I appreciate you all re-educating me on the mashing basics.

Cheers

Ryan
06/20/07 01:05 PM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
DBear

this raised a troubling thought for me. I am still having major efficiency issues since switching to AG. I've been batch sparging with water that is 168. Your comment above that you use 180 degree water so that the GRAIN BED reaches 170 makes me wonder what I should be doing.

Is the sparge temperature 170 a reference to the water you add to the cooler, or the grain bed itself?

Ryan

DBear
06/20/07 09:21 PM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
Ryan,

<<Is the sparge temperature 170 a reference to the water you add to the cooler, or the grain bed itself?>>

Based on this posting 170F IS MAX for the sparge water temp - with your temp of 168F, your'e already there dude. See earlier <<responses>> below for temps:

My issues have not been with efficency yet (60-75% - still learning about my system) but with troubleshooting off flavors and my high sparge temps may be the problem. I just brewed a saison with sparge water temp at 170F. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Cheers

From Cisco <<If you do a mash out to get the grain bed to 168 or 170 then you don't need to keep your sparge water so high. You could actually have your sparge water at 168 to 170. I think that 185 is way too high and that even though your grain bed is measuring 170 that the you're extracting some tannins just from the initial high heat contact of the sparge water>>

Also same question posed to Stone Brewing Co. <<If your mash gets above 170, you will extract some of those harsh tannins.

We like to heat the water to 170F max, it usually cools off to about 165F by the time it hits the grain bed. The mash it self will probably start to push 160-165F by the end of your sparge.

Hope that helps clarify.

Thanks for writing, and cheers

Mitch

Mitch Steele

Head Brewer

Stone Brewing Co.>>

Sean White
06/20/07 10:12 PM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
D Bear,

You know, depending on how much acid malt you used in your wit, that may have totaly done the trick and gotten your mash pH down to where it should be. That would explain why the wit was not astringent.

Color malt will also help you get your pH to where it should be. I've only had astringency issues in very light beers.

As long as your mash bed doesn't get over 170 you should be fine, but I just mash out to 170 and sparge with 170 water.

Ryan
06/21/07 10:45 AM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
DBear

thanks for that. I wonder then where my efficiency problem comes from. Maybe my grain bed just isn't getting to full mashout before I sparge.

Has anyone here heard of, or tried, adding the juice of half a lemon to the mash? I hear this is the rough equivalent of buffer 5.2

Baums
06/21/07 10:59 AM  
Re: High percent of Pils and mash/sparge temps
I think *when the mash is at the right pH* the temp can be high (>180F) and no extra astringency will be extracted(I think Sean was getting at this). I believe this is why decoctions do not automatically yield astringent beers (because if the mash is at the correct pH, then you can even take it to boiling without having trouble). This is probably also why when batch sparging, the first sparge infusion can be with boiling water without tannin extraction issues.

The problem comes in late in the sparge when fly sparging, or when doing several batch sparges. The earlier wort runoff took away lots of the stuff that keeps the mash at the right pH. So at that point, if you sparge too hot you can get in trouble. (Personally, I simply stop sparging after the first batch sparge and don't worry about it.)

 
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